Hayden Christensen Is Glad the Star Wars Prequels Got Their Reappraisal

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We live in a golden age of Star Wars prequel renaissance. The biggest stories right now all go back to the age of the prequel trilogy, its stars—some of them at least— are returning left and right. Arguably the most important character in the galaxy right now, Ahsoka Tano, was born from Clone Warsown diligent relitigation of the prequels’ perceived downfalls. And few people are as happy about that as Hayden Christensen.

“It’s been a remarkable experience. And just a very heartwarming one. The journey that I’ve been on with Star Wars over the last 20 plus years… it’s been a wild ride, and where we’re at now is really meaningful to me,” Christensen recently told Empire in a wide-ranging interview about his time as—and return to—Anakin Skywalker, across Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and now in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka. “I think that those movies have held up well over time. It feels like vindication for the work that we did. Everyone that worked on those movies thought that we were part of something special. We all wanted to do our very best work, and we cared a lot about it. And so to see the response from the fans now, it’s very cool.”

Christensen bore the brunt of a lot of the complaints about the prequels’ general acting performances at the time—perhaps only up there with Jake Lloyd and Ahmed Best as specifically heightened targets of vitriolic abuse. But the cultural re-examination that has occurred over the last 25 years, as the children who grew up watching the films became adults, has seen Star Wars in turn more keen to re-explore the legacy of the films and return to their ideas with a similarly more matured eye. For Christensen, that potential to appreciate what the prequels did for Star Wars was there since he very first watched.

“When Episode I came out, there was a lot of excitement that they were making a new Star Wars, and it was going to be the backstory of Darth Vader. But I had friends that were upset that the character was starting off as this young kid. And I watched the film, and I loved it. It was everything I wanted and more. And I didn’t understand the disconnect between the movie that I saw, and the negativity in some of the reviews,” Christensen continued. “In a way that sort of criticism, I think, comes from a certain failure of their own suspension of disbelief. If you’re gonna go sit in a theatre, and the opening scroll starts with, ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’, that’s setting the stage that anything is possible. These people don’t need to sound and behave the way that we might expect. And if you’re going to sit down and think that you’re getting something that is of our current zeitgeist, then you’re setting yourself up for something else.”

Such is the cyclical nature of Star Wars. We’re already seeing this idea of expectation and reality furiously being applied to the fallout of the sequel trilogy—even nearly five years on from its end, that cycle will be an interesting one to experience as we move even further on, and the current prequels renaissance declines from its greatest prominence. Time will tell, just as it did for Hayden Christensen.


Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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